The Research and Writing Component in the Major
There are three required courses in the Mathematics major that contain substantial writing components.
Mathematical Perspectives (Mth 290) requires student to respond to a series of articles, analyze the information presented, and draw conclusions.
Number Structures (Mth 311) has a strong emphasis on mathematical exposition and proof. Here students are required to do a significant amount of mathematical writing and expected to evaluate, organize, interpret, and synthesize information.
Senior Colloquium (Mth 490), our capstone course, involves the students in researching and presenting a mathematical topic or theme. This is the course where all the components described in the Curriculum Committee outline come together in a single extended project: information retrieval, evaluation, and organization; analysis and interpretation of information; synthesis and summary.
The vast majority of the Mathematics faculty have taken the Writing Across the Curriculum Seminar and are committed to using writing as a learning tool. As a result, written projects are frequently required for lower division courses and more extensive writing projects are often required in upper division courses -- sometimes taking the form of a traditional term paper.
Because of the writing emphasis throughout the major, the department believes the students have an excellent foundation in mathematical writing style, and are regularly expected to analyze, interpret, organize, and synthesize information. The only weakness we see is in the library research component prior to the capstone experience. We would like to leave open the option of adding a new course (probably a co-requisite to one of our existing required courses in the major) or increasing the credits of a required course in the major to better incorporate this feature.